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About sparfish

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  • Birthday 12/03/1952

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  • Location
    Waterville, KS
  • Interests
    pottery/ceramics; art shows/galleries; sci-fi, zombie, thriller/drama, period, action flicks; Stephen King books; special diet cooking (celiac)
  1. I wanted to pass along to my comrades an unusual bracing method used in moving my 27 cf Olson-style gas updraft 90 miles. Getting the kiln moved at all proved to be a real problem, too big for most people willing to move stuff, too small for house movers to make time for. After three years, a local agricultural silo builder agreed to do it, though with the trepidation everyone had when faced with the very real problem of moving something filled with fragile refractory soft brick. I had frankly reached the point where just getting it relocated to my new home was the main focus, as selling the building my former studio had been in was problematic with the kiln still on the property. I figured if even the worst case scenario occurred, and the bricking was totally trashed and the arch collapsed, at least the kiln jacket frame would be here. I would just bite the bullet and rebrick, expensive, but realistic, right? The brick was near new, had only been fired 10 times, but options were about out for me. The silo builder moved it on a day I could not be there to "supervise," so I decided to let karma be the master that day and hope for the best. I had discussed with him the necessary gentle handling, and stuff he would remove--the cap, damper, gas burner assembly, the two shelves and posts in the interior, etc. I also mentioned various bracing techniques many potters used to move kilns. I came home in the evening to a total shock of finding the kiln sitting in my driveway in front of the garage, not on the pad out back. A call to the mover revealed he would not place it on the pad till he had precise information as to how to orient it on the pad. So I marked the pad with chalk that night with a flashlight and yardstick, lol! He and a single worker showed up early in the morning with a forklift. I was curious how they would get it to the back yard, as the routes I thought they would use was around the side yard on the south, or through the alley and across a neighbor's back yard which would require the temporary removal of a simple wire mesh fence. To my amazement, they instead took it through a gap between the garage and house across a concrete patio. I hadn't even considered that, as the kiln is @53" across, and that opening is only 63". I guess to a pro used to handling large steel beams and panels that was enough. They worked the kiln through the gap, then jockeyed the forklift an inch here, and inch there, over and over to finally get it centered on the pad. I watched this through my kitchen window with a combination of elation, terror, and awe. The forklift at times was kissing the back side of my house, and brushing the window well. It took them a mere 30 minutes to move it to the back, most of that time spent adjusting and measuring over and over to precisely center it on the pad before lowering it. I have no pictures to show here, the mover had already removed the bracing the night before. I asked how he had braced the interior. He hadn't removed any of the parts I figured he would--the burners, damper, even the interior shelves were still in place. He had gone to a local Dollar General and purchased rubber backed mats, a plastic bin, and packages of inflatable mylar balloons. The plastic bin was used over the shelves on the kiln floor. I think he used the mats over the shelves and bin. Then they methodically inflated mylar balloons to fill the interior kiln cavity. I assume he also placed some on the outside of the arch under the cap and tied down the cap. Between that and handling it with as gentle a manner as he could, they lifted it onto a flat bed and drove as carefully as they could over some less than ideal road. The mover was unhappy with the resultant brick damage, I guess he thought he could do it with no damage at all. I am personally impressed and thankful. The arch not only DID NOT collapse, as far as I can tell right now, none of its brick even cracked. Two brick by the door opening broke apart. Four more brick along the door opening also broke, but he had saved the pieces for me. Many of the wall brick did sustain vertical cracking, but no worse than I have seen in kilns that are fired a lot. I phoned the kiln's original builder/designer and he assured me he could repair the damage, and plans to come in the spring to do repairs and switch the burners to propane. With luck, I will have a working kiln again maybe next summer. I am not at all ashamed to admit I literally went outside and hugged my kiln! I will spend my spare time this winter trying to figure out how to set up my new work space in the basement, and hope the former building sells so I can hire an electrician to wire for lights and the electric kilns. I wanted to pass along the novel bracing method the mover used. I thought it original and amazing. Sparfish
  2. Re-Glazing

    I have had past success reglazing some pieces by prepping the piece with a starch solution sprayed on. (About 30% liquid laundry starch to 70% water.) The starch seemed to help grab the new glaze layer. After the glaze dried, which can take quite a while due to lack of absorption in a fired piece, I lightly sprayed more starch on to harden the glaze coat. I imagine preheating the piece would help, also.
  3. I have a Brent CXC, which has the original pin holes, as well as another set I drilled in, too. I made a bunch of bats from 1/4" double tempered masonite. (Double tempered is slick and hard on both sides. It is getting harder to find this stuff.) I bought full sheets and drew circles of varying sizes on it, then cut it apart into squares. I cut the circles out on a band saw, and found following the line got easier the more I cut them. After cutting, I used a belt sander to roughly round off the edges, then used an electric hand sander to smooth the edges to a nice round. To drill holes, I made a template of the wheel head out of light shirt type cardboard. Prior to drilling the holes, I used a tap tool (like you use for knocking nails in a bit for finish work) to form a pivot point in the center of each hole. I used a drill press with a Forstner bit to do the holes, and drilled only halfway down on each side. The first pass on the first side will leave a central mark you can use for centering when you flip to do the other side. (I found doing the holes this way greatly reduced the "furring" the masonite does, giving a nice clean hole.) Then I put the bats in a tub of Thompson's Water Seal to soak overnight. After drying, they are ready to go. I resoak them in Thompson's periodically when they start looking dry. (You may find they seem slick when first using them, this passes as they get used.) While some of my bats are far from perfect circles, most are really nice, and the rounded edges make getting them on and off the wheel head easy, and eliminates the chance of finger cuts when spinning. I also reduce the damage to the bats' holes by using nylon bat pins instead of metal ones. SparfishStudio
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